Darren Seals, a prominent organizer for the Ferguson protests in response to the killing of a black teenager by a white police officer in 2014, has died. He is the second Ferguson, Missouri activist to be found shot and in a burning car.
Police responding to a vehicle fire early Tuesday morning in Riverview, Missouri found Seals’ body inside after extinguishing the flames. The St. Louis County Police Department launched a homicide investigation after discovering that he had been shot.
Seals, 29, was best known for his civil rights activism in Missouri, particularly after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown that launched massive protests and calls for police reform.
Although Seals worked as a factory worker and musician, he was committed to speaking about injustices he saw in the St. Louis area, even at the risk of alienating other protesters, such as DeRay Mckesson – a prominent Black Lives Matter protester, who Seals claimed to have slapped at a protest.
Members of the activist community have noticed troublesome similarities between Seals’ death and that of DeAndre Joshua. Joshua’s body was found in a burning car in 2014 with a gunshot wound to the head. His murderer has yet to be found, but police have already denied a connection.
“At this time the two homicides are not linked,” St. Louis County police spokesman Shawn McGuire wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Times.
Joshua’s grandmother Renita Towns expressed disbelief that her grandson’s killer would be found, saying, “Police don’t care — he’s black,” USA Today reported.
Other activists have taken to social media to share their condolences and memories of Seals – including the ones who had their differences with him.
We can live in a world where people don’t die by violence. Nobody deserves to die. We did not always agree, but he should be alive today.
— deray mckesson (@deray) September 6, 2016
I hope his soul is at rest. I truly don’t know what else to say.
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) September 6, 2016
I’m really stunned… But not surprised. That brother was a soldier for black people. History repeats itself. #DarrenSeals
— Blank Space (@kaillou_) September 6, 2016
Personal feelings regarding Darren Seals are irrelevant. His life mattered. Send his family love & strength.
— Pablo Freshcobar (@TheDreadPoet) September 6, 2016